To read consistently with 1000+ words per minute isn’t something you learn in a few hours. Sure, you can get introduced to the tactics and techniques. You can understand speed reading on an intellectual level. Applying the techniques and mastering speed reading takes time. Think in terms of months at least!
The human brain is always trying to protect you from danger. That is why most people don’t like to give a presentation in front of a large group of people. It scares them. Your brain “freezes” and you will not do it (or at least try to get away). To change your habits and tactics, you need time and training. There was a study suggesting that change in habits occurs after at least 21 days. Since you’ve been reading for decades, your brain will put up a fight to change this.
The average reading speed for an adult lies between 150 and 250 words per minute (wpm). In general reading speeds of 800+ wpm are considered speed reading. Some people claim to be able to read with 20,000 wpm! I don’t know how much they can still read (but that is a whole different story…). To become a speed reader you have to increase your reading speed by a factor of 4!
Don’t worry… you don’t have to be a speed reader to read faster. Reading between 300 and 800 wpm is still a lot faster than what most people read. Focus on that first, and if you want to invest your time, you should train more to become a speed reader.
Remember that the point of speed reading is to read really, really fast! Your goal should be to comprehend, memorize, and understand your study books faster. This will save you time. Become a smart reader who has speed reader capabilities!
How Long Does It Take To Increase Your Reading Speed
You can instantly increase your reading speed. This is simply a matter of reading faster. When you force yourself to read faster, you will see that you can do this easily. Start by doing this and you will probably increase your reading speed by 5%. When you have poor reading focus, you have to re-read sentences. Stop re-reading and you can increase your reading speed by another 5%.
Imagine you can (only) increase your reading speed by 5% this way. That doesn’t seem like much. Think about it. If you work for 40 hours per week, and you can work 5% less… that is 2 hours per week! You instantly gained an additional 2.5 full holiday weeks per year (based on 50 weeks of working per year).
Start with consistent small increases and you will win so much time! And all that happens while you are learning smarter.
Speed reading is teaching your brain to handle written text differently. You might even compare learning to speed reading with losing weight. Here’s how. Being overweight means you may have picked up a few unproductive things. You may have adopted the wrong eating habits, eaten the wrong kind of food, or are not exercising enough. When you change that, you don’t instantly lose 30 lbs. It takes time. Reading works the same. You don’t have the right reading habits. You have not trained your eyes. When you do that, over time your speed increases. As long as you keep focused and you train yourself to become a smarter reader!
The easiest way to increase your reading speed is this: read, read, read. The more you read, the faster you will read. That is why university students usually have the highest reading speed. They are read daily and they challenge their mind!
There are practical training programs available online. You can also hire a reading coach. I created a practical reading training that helps you to read faster. It is one of my Study Routines.
When you start reading more, there is one thing that is more important than reading speed. Don’t focus on the number of pages you read. Focus on comprehension first, increase your reading speed second.
Not that you know all this, it is time for answering an important question…
Can You Actually Learn To Speed Read?
Everybody can read faster. You simply have to put in the work. Not everybody will be able to learn to read with 1000+ words per minute. But let’s be honest. Most people don’t need to read that fast. While it can be nice to be able to do that… it takes a lot of time to learn how to read this way.
It should be clear to you that your reading speed is influenced by your genes. Slow reading is the result of a slower processing speed in your brain. It can also occur that dyslexia, anxiety, or ADHD play a role in your reading speed.
But that should not stop you from pursuing a higher reading speed! Everybody can read faster than what they are doing right now. Especially people who deal for example with dyslexia. Reading smarter will help them not just increase their reading speed. They also improve their comprehension.
Read more: Is speed reading just skimming?
Everybody can learn to read faster. It does not have to take a lot of effort. The most important thing to do is to be consistent in your training. You should be training daily. That is great when you are studying! You are reading daily this way.
Note that there is a difference between speed reading and reading faster. The former takes a lot more effort and time to master. Reading faster than what you are doing right now isn’t that difficult.
The most difficult part of speed reading is to remind yourself to apply what you know and learn. Once you can do that, your reading speed will automatically increase. Simply use the right reading tactics every time you read or study. You are on your way to becoming a speed reader! Let’s go!